I’m a bad friend, not for lack of love or attention, but because I prioritize the romantic over the platonic. I fall deep into my relationships, spending 90% of my time with them. And when I do use that 10% to see my friends I often bring my boyfriends with me. It’s awful, and I know it’s awful, but I can’t stop myself.
I don’t why it is that I’m compelled to leave my friends for boyfriends, except I totally know and just don’t want to admit the self-absorbed truth. I guess for me romantic relationships start and continue under the pretense that you will be each other’s number one. What I mean by number one is the person you think about before you fall asleep and when you wake up, the first person you call when something exciting or terrible happens, the person who listens to you cry, and above all else, the person you wholly love and by whom you are wholly loved by in return. It’s beautiful at best and psychotically obsessive at worst.
I’ve never really been anyone’s number one before. I shared my parents and guardians with a twin brother and younger sister, and was arguably the least favorite of the bunch. I wasn’t a good, “boys will be boys” American boy like my brother, or a talented, well-behaved athlete and student like my sister. I was an emotional little boy who could find a fight anywhere and always had to have the last word. I gladly accepted attention as a substitute for love, even if it was attention for all the wrong reasons.
The same is true of my friends. My closest friends, the ones I made back in college and the ones I’ve made in the past few weeks, all have and had best friends before me. I’m not the first and probably won’t be the last friend in their life. I always wonder where I rank among their friends. Am I one of their favorites? Am I the 3rd best? 4th? 5th?
I know I’m a welcome addition, but I doubt their lives would be substantially changed without me. If anything they’d be saved from phone conversations in which I talk too much for too long, phone calls in which I ask for advice only to do the exact opposite, and a friend who needs constant validation and is emotionally inconsistent. In my head, they’re truly better off without me but I feel beyond words happy that they stay.
I’m getting to a point in my life where I’m beginning to see that my outlook on romantic and platonic relationships is getting me nowhere. All I’m setting myself up for is being completely alone. I refuse to lose the people I love the most because I’ve somehow found a way to validate within myself an ideal which promotes only one kind of love, when really why are they so different? The biggest, if only, difference is that I don’t touch genitals with my friends. And while I do enjoy the occasional genital touch, I don’t need it to be happy or to live.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m beginning to realize that I need to actively oppose my thought processes. I need to find just as much value in a dinner date with a friend as I would with a boyfriend, or as much value in a text thread with a friend as I would with a boyfriend, or as much value in a hug from a friend as I would from a boyfriend.
My friends make me happy where my boyfriends rarely have. Every boyfriend I’ve had has either abandoned me and cut me off, or left running and screaming. They’ve compelled me to change for their benefit, not my own. They loved the idea of me or what they thought I was. My friends, on the other hand, see who I am, all of who I am, and love me still. They’ve seen me at my best and worst, and see the real me in both extremes. They love me who doesn’t want to get out of bed under the weight of depression, me who overthinks every little thing that they do, me who wants to go to the club and dance crazy, me who loves binge watching on Netflix, and every me in between. The fact is I am alive and moving forward because of my friends, not my boyfriends.
After all this talk of friendship I feel compelled to mention just a few people who inspired me to consciously question my thoughts on friendship:
Thank you Nesh for being my everything; the Giles to my Buffy, my ride-or-die, and my constant source of both laughter and enlightenment. You remind me time and time again that I matter and I hope one day I’ll truly feel worthy of your friendship and fully accept that you’re not just gracing a pitiful person like me with your presence. I’ll never forget the notes you left me in my lunches at school, or how you always had my back in ridiculously long Facebook fights, and how you taught me to be a badass. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. I owe you everything.
Thank you Danielle for shining your light in my life. You are the Willow to my Buffy, and are a beacon of love and warmth in a life where both are in short supply. You inspire me, not only as a strong, independent woman in business, but as an equally emotional person who finds ways to function in a difficult world. You see the beauty in me, even when I don’t. You’ve supported me when everyone around you told you not to. You never gave up on me. You really make me feel like I’m Buffy, which for anyone who knows me is possibly one of the biggest compliments I could ever give.
Thank you Shannon for not running away from me after orientation. Lord knows I’m almost always at a 10, so bless you for not thinking I was too much that day. We haven’t known each other for a long time, but I feel this indescribable sense of kinship with you, like we both totally understand each other without even trying. You embrace my imperfection and allow me to be myself without shame. We’re punk rock goddesses. I hope this shows, in some small way, what your friendship means to me.
Thank you Skyler for everything that you’ve done for me. You’re completely unlike every other guy I’ve met in my life; you’re classy, European gentlemen/scholar meets gritty, 90s, American punk. You treat me like a person even though male standards say you should be avoiding a faggot like me like the plague. You constantly thank me for stuff when I should be the one thanking you. You validate my existence and make me feel like the voices in my head that tell me I’m shit are dead wrong. Your friendship helps me fall asleep at night and motivates me to get up in the morning. I honestly look up to you and hope I can be more like you.
Thank you Talyse for letting a peasant like me roam with a queen like you. As I’ve said before, and as I’ll say again, your exterior beauty is only matched by the beauty of your interior. You do so much more than you know. You’ve been my rock through a tumultuous few weeks. You’ve been my confidant when I needed to spill my guts. You stayed when I was an emotional mess, and when I was obsessing over every small detail in my life, and you didn’t judge me even though you totally could have. You make me feel beautiful because you take lots of pictures with me. I always wonder why a gorgeous girl like you wants to take pictures with a weirdo like me. You’ve been a true friend to me and I just hope you get how important you are to me.
Okay, that’s enough emotions and thought for one day. I’m gonna go and bury my head under my pillow or something and not be emotional for a little while.